Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’d blame House Republicans for any government shutdown if they fail to pass spending legislation by the end of the month.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent Friday morning, Schumer sought to drive a wedge between House and Senate Republicans — offering praise for both Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and ranking Republican Susan Collins (R-Maine), a lawmaker with whom Schumer is often at loggerheads.
“We cannot afford the brinkmanship or hostage-taking we saw from House Republicans earlier this year when they pushed our country to the brink of default to appease the most extreme members of their party,” Schumer wrote.
The chamber passed all 12 appropriations bills out of committee on a bipartisan basis, he boasts. That drew an implicit contrast to the House, where Speaker Kevin McCarthy has broken faith on his spending caps deal with President Joe Biden, and is instead pushing partisan proposals that don’t have a prayer of becoming law.
“The only way to avoid a shutdown is through bipartisanship, so I have urged House Republican leadership to follow the Senate’s lead and pass bipartisan appropriations bills,” the majority leader continued.
Schumer’s letter comes just a day after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell underscored the need for bipartisanship to keep the government open in a Kentucky speech that was quickly overshadowed by the Republican’s health scare.
“The speaker and the president reached an agreement, which I supported, in connection with raising the debt ceiling, to set the spending levels for next year,” McConnell said. “The House then turned around and passed spending levels that were below that level. … [T]hat’s not going to be replicated in the Senate.”